Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The business banking landscape is changing – are you keeping up?!

With all the pressure being placed on the financial industry at the moment there are two alternative courses that can be taken by the banking industry. Either banks can start innovating and providing businesses with the products they need, or alternative providers will enter the market and start eroding the near-monopoly enjoyed by the high street banks.
We have already seen evidence of the latter with the likes of Metro bank, Virgin money and even the newly proposed state backed bank being championed by George Osborne, which will surely inspire optimism in the business community.

But the real question is in where these new financial service providers can make an impact.
For starters, with the newly created competitive environment amongst the banks, one of the first changes to be seen will be in the fees businesses are paying for their banking and payment services, which until now have been in an ever increasing spiral.

The extent of these rising fees came to light in a recent YouGov survey commissioned by CashFlows, showing that the top quarter of UK SMEs were paying an average of £1,792 per year for their financial services. This figure can be very painful for businesses cash flow and provides more fuel to the argument of a more transparent and tailored approach to business banking pricing.

The other big advantage of new providers to the banking and payment market is they aren’t encumbered with the outdated processes and ways of thinking that cause dissatisfaction amongst businesses currently. What this means in tangible terms are that businesses can expect to be set up faster, offered a greater range of services relevant to accelerating their cash flow and crucially, offering these products at a lower cost.

Like all economic changes, it will be a gradual process, and to expect the grey cloud that is currently hovering over the financial industry to be lifted over night is very far from realistic, however things are moving in the right direction. With all the recent shake ups in the industry, change is the only certainty, and with heightened competition being stimulated amongst financial services providers there is an optimistic future of innovative business banking services that really will benefit businesses and consumers.

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